A team of researchers at the University of Leeds have created an experimental computer project that is capable of reanimating the cast of Friends as video chatbots. The system was trained with all 236 episodes of the series, and a video released by the team features the character of Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) saying original phrases generated by the computer.
The system can be used on non-Friends video as well, but the large library of episodes provided the team with plenty of source material to work with for their experiment.
The objective of this work is to build virtual talking avatars of characters fully automatically from TV shows. From this unconstrained data, we show how to capture a character’s style of speech, visual appearance and language in an effort to construct an interactive avatar of the person and effectively immortalize them in a computational model.